2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees have been announced. They are: Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, KISS, LL Cool J, The Meters, Nirvana, N.W.A., The Replacements, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, Link Wray, Yes, and the Zombies.

On the fan ballot, you can only vote for five. Mine would be Deep Purple, which should have been in a long, long time ago; KISS (can’t stand their music, but the should have been in the hall a decade ago; you can’t tell the story of rock and roll without them); Yes, one of the truly great progressive rock bands and hugely influential; Nirvana, which launched an entire new sub-genre of rock; and Hall and Oates. I actually like Peter Gabriel a hell of a lot more than Hall and Oates, but he’s already in as a member of Genesis and while I think he should go in as a solo act as well, I think Hall and Oates has been overlooked for too long. It’s the biggest selling duo in music history. It’s a lot like KISS to me, even if you don’t really like their music you have to recognize their place in music history.

Having said that, I think some of the others deserve to be in there as well, including Chic, N.W.A., LL Cool J, Link Wray and the Meters. I’m not one of those people who says, “But it’s the rock and roll hall of fame, not the pop music or rap music hall of fame! Why are they putting all those non-rockers in there?” Because it’s really the pop music hall of fame and has been from the start. The decision to include rap artists, for instance, was made years ago and if you’re going to honor rap artists, N.W.A. and LL Cool J absolutely deserve to be there.

Cat Stevens probably deserves to be there on the merits as well, but I simply cannot bring myself to support him in anything now that he’s a Muslim fascist who thinks people should be killed for writing something he doesn’t like. His public support of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, and his constant lies since than in claiming that he didn’t, make him pretty much dead to me. Other than him, there’s no one on this list that I’d object to getting in.

Assuming some of these bands get in, there will likely be controversy over who shows up (Axl Rose to the white courtesy phone). Ritchie Blackmore, the legendary guitarist for Deep Purple, has already said he will not show up if inducted. Blackmore is a bit eccentric, to say the least. But I think it would be a shame if he doesn’t. The same with Jon Anderson of Yes, though I think he will show up if inducted. Hell, Yes alone could fill half the arena with members and former members, and I hope that all of the members from different times who played the same instrument during the band’s heyday (Steve Howe and Trevor Rabin on guitar, Bill Bruford and Alan White on drums, Rick Wakeman and Tony Kaye on keyboards) show up to be honored. They can leave Geoff Downes and Jon Davison at home. The same might be true of KISS. I would hope that they’d include Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, original members of the band, in the ceremony.

One thing I’d like to see the hall of fame do more of is inducting session musicians and side players. They’ve done that with some of the older guys from the 50s and 60s, but few from the last 25 or 30 years. I mean, Tony Levin should be in the hall. He’s played on 500 albums, everything from Alice Cooper’s Welcome to My Nightmare to Peter Gabriel’s solo albums (all of them, I think, plus the tours) and a bunch of King Crimson albums. His name may not be on the front of the CD, but his influence is extraordinary.

And for crying out loud, Vinnie Colaiuta, in my opinion the world’s best drummer, should be in there (as should a bunch of other great sidemen/session drummers like Steve Gadd and Dave Weckl). His work with Frank Zappa and Sting alone should get him in. No one handles odd time signatures as flawlessly and effortlessly as Vinnie. And few drummers have ever been able to combine extraordinary technical chops with the ability to lock into a groove and swing like he can. Ask any drummer who pays attention to such things and they will rave about Vinnie the way I’m doing right now. He is a force of nature and deserves to be more widely recognized.


  1. Doug Little says

    The same might be true of KISS. I would hope that they’d include Peter Criss and Ace Frehley, original members of the band, in the ceremony.

    Only if Gene can make an extra buck off of it.

  2. daved says

    If Linda Ronstadt wins, it’ll be a damn shame it didn’t happen sooner, since she now has Parkinson’s Disease and can no longer sing.

  3. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    A Tribe Called Quest should be in there in 2015. I cannot wait!

  4. brandon says

    It took this long for Hall and Oates, KISS, and Cat Stevens to be nominated for the Hall of Fame? What have these people been doing this whole time?

  5. D. C. Sessions says

    Nice to recognize Link Wray (a staple of my workout music — no vocals, thankyouverymuch) — Wray not so much as Duane Eddy, but still immensely influential.

    Hall and Oates? Meh. I can’t imagine putting them ahead of Linda Ronstadt, who had perhaps the finest set of pipes of any woman in popular music since the 30s. All over the map on the material she performed, and all of it awesomely. Strange that Ed just totally ignored her.

    Much as I like the Zombies, they had no real staying power and were pretty much a generic British Invasion band. Good, but not remarkable for their day. And I don’t need to bring Stevens’ personality into it to condemn him as even more of a flash in the pan with no lasting influence.

    Deep Purple, Yes, and Nirvana? Totally beyond question.

  6. sinned34 says

    Has GWAR been nominated yet? I bet their induction will be next year, after they play the Superbowl halftime show.

  7. twinertia says

    Out of all that crowd…..YES, and YES alone should be inducted (if, for nothing else, than the inimitable Chris Squire).

  8. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    There’s no way I would vote for Nirvana. Telling the story of rock n roll without them? Yeah, maybe you can’t do it. Maybe. But there are a ton of people who would vote for them who don’t even understand the 10th part of what Nirvana was saying. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was a big middle finger to casual fans…and casual fans ate it up. Does that mean the band is so good they even convert those they insult?

    No. I think it’s a combo of the band’s failure to communicate and the tendency to play to the lowest common denominator.

    Plus enough people would vote for them they don’t need me.

    NWA would be my first choice.

    Then maybe

    Linda Ronstadt,
    Deep Purple, and
    The Replacements

    Possibly even in that order.

  9. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Session musicians getting in?

    I agree Vinnie would be on my first ballot of those. But Carol F’n Kaye would be the first name on my first ballot. Innovative women get ignored time after time in these things, but seriously, is anyone more deserving of a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame than Carol Kaye. Can you tell the story of Rock & Roll without her?

  10. says

    If session musicians are getting in then it’s a travesty if the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (aka The Swampers) aren’t at the head of the nomination line.

  11. bobcarroll says

    Linda Ronstadt, absolutely. Incredibly impressive: her ability to sing light opera, as well as several memorable pop songs. As Mabel, the heroine of Gilbert & Sullivan’s. “Pirates of Penzance,” she really rocked! Fortunately, bits of her performance are all over YouTube. It makes me sick to hear that she has Parkinson’s. I feel worse about that than I do about my similar affliction. Parkinson’s, incidentally, affects all the voluntary muscles, not just the main ones involved with balance, walking, and the like. I have difficulty speaking, for example. No doubt, she does as well. Life is unfair. What the hell, toujours gai !

  12. pacal says

    Yeah I agree that Hall and Oates deserve to be in the Hall of Fame; what with their immense popular success etc. However given the utter banality and pop smaltz of what they did I am perfectly willing to wait many many years before they get in.

  13. conway says

    I’m officially old now, because the Hall of Fame has finally nominated a band that I have never heard of. The Meters? I guess Fame doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.

  14. wildbill says

    Actually, the meters have been around for awhile, they are from New Orleans. One or two of the Neville Bros. are in the band.

    My votes go to:
    Deep Purple (not a big fan, but I do recognize them as one of the important early heavy metal bands, and Made In Japan is a good live album),
    Nirvana (again not a big fan, but they are one of the key bands in the grunge movement),
    Link Wray and Chic.

    After that it gets tough.
    I understand that Yes should probably go in (used to be a big fan, but ultimately I grew to dislike prog rock), they should have probably gone in before genesis,
    I get why KISS should be in there, but . . .
    Hall & Oates, really?? that one I don’t get, never cared for them.
    If Linda Ronstadt is up, why hasn’t Emmy Lou Harris been nominated, I think she is a much better vocalist.
    I think Gabriel is more deserving for his solo work then genesis.

  15. Rip Steakface says

    I’m officially old now, because the Hall of Fame has finally nominated a band that I have never heard of. The Meters? I guess Fame doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.

    Ironic, since The Meters are a quite famous 60s/70s funk group. Bands like Tower of Power owe a lot to them.

    I actually like a lot of the available choices this year though – Deep Purple, Nirvana, Yes, LL Cool J, KISS, NWA (hard to find a more influential rap group, actually), and The Meters are all good choices for me. Top 5 list:

    1. Deep Purple. This is plainly obvious, they’re one of the most influential rock/metal groups of all time, and they kept the organ relevant for decades. Hell, there are still modern bands that play with an organ heavy sound that still manage to be heavy as all hell (Spiritual Beggars is one of the best).
    2. KISS. Same, they had massive effects on how you should present a rock show. They were one of the first bands to really show how far you can take stage wizardry. Musically, they go between damn awesome (I Love it Loud) to damn crappy (their disco). Influential on metal too – hell, black metal acts back in the day pretty much took old KISS outfits and makeup and made them a bit more grim to suit their sound.
    3. NWA. I’m not a huge fan of hip hop, though I do like some. NWA is part of that some. They’re essentially The Beatles of rap – three of their members went on to have pretty successful solo careers, and two of them extremely (Ice Cube and Dre). Ice Cube was probably the most talented of the bunch, which makes it all the sadder that he’s primarily an actor now.
    4. Nirvana. Yeah, it may kill the point that Nirvana tried to make like Crip said, but I’m from Washington. My dad went to high school with Cobain (I’m a young’un, yes). He practically lived down the street from where I live now! He’s a hometown “hero” for lack of a better term.
    5. Yes. Pretty obvious, they’re one of the progressive rock groups. Now that Rush is in, Yes pretty much is agiven.

    Some nominee ideas for the future:

    – Session musicians of course. Vinnie would be perfect, definitely one of the best drummers I’ve ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot of friggin’ drummers. The polyrhythmic accuracy he puts out is unrivaled in his genres.
    – More underground/less popular music with nevertheless broad influence. The Ramones are in, but they never had a single go into the top 40. Other less “popular” (at least at the time) bands would be fantastic. Judas Priest, for example, is more or less the trope codifier of metal, but they’re not in and they never had chart success. Same with Motorhead. This leads to the next idea…
    METAL! Now that is an underrepresented genre. Bands are eligible 25 years after their first recording. At this point, that means that most of the most notable/historical metal acts across multiple subgenres are eligible. Right now, the hardest band in the HoF is Metallica. They’re fine and all, but there are numerous better metal bands with as much or more influence. Iron Maiden is almost entirely responsible for power metal, which is enormously popular in Europe and Japan. Hell, Death created death metal, the nightmare music of conservatives everywhere, which has to be at least somewhat appealing to everyone here. They first recorded in 1980 (though they hadn’t created death metal yet), and debuted their first album in 1987.

  16. bbgunn says

    I think Linda Ronstadt gets in this year. Not because of her extraordinary vocal talent and commercial sucess, but on the sympathy vote. I think voters will want to hear an acceptance speech from her before her ability to speak is destroyed by Parkinson’s.

    I think her nomination is way overdue. Some critics criticize her for singing covers and songs written for her, not her own material. Yes, she did, but her interpretation of the material is what made those songs resonate with listeners. (Anyway, how many songs has Madonna penned herself and she’s in.)

    Personally, I’d like to see Linda selected and then give the R&RHOF a big figurative finger by asking Emmy Lou Harris to collect the award for her, just to remind voters that another great woman artist like Emmy Lou is still being snubbed.

  17. Doug Little says

    – METAL! Now that is an underrepresented genre.

    Absolutely, You want to talk about influential metal bands Death is a good one also around the same time Motorhead pretty much started Thrash/Speed Metal it’s a travesty that Metallica got in before them. I would also have to add Napalm Death for inventing Beat Blasting that is so prevalent in Death Metal today.

  18. gingerbaker says

    So, the R&RHOF isn’t really just for Rock & Roll. Rap counts.(Perhaps because rap is so good at ripping off R&R grooves as samples?)

    But it IS for musicians who sold a lot of albums. (Even if their music sucks)

    And it should be for great musicians who may play in all genres, but not necessarily because they sold a lot of albums, or wrote any music, or were on albums that “told the story” of rock and roll, or stuck with any one band in particular.

    But the R&RHOF is NOT about which bands or performers actually wrote and performed the best music.

    Got it.

    And we wonder why many musos won’t even bother to pick up their awards?

  19. says

    ” think Linda Ronstadt gets in this year. Not because of her extraordinary vocal talent and commercial sucess, but on the sympathy vote.”

    Well, it didn’t do Warren Z any good to contract mesothelioma; so, maybe not.

    Actually there are a number of people who I’d like to see receive the honor, posthumously. They include Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Dave Mustaine, Lee Greenwood, The Jonas Brothers, Toby Keith, Hank Williams Jr., Andy Williams–well, the list goes on for a while. Now that I read over my list I realize that a number of those guys aren’t rockers, some of them aren’t really musicians. So,I ‘m not sure that they should get the honor. I would still like them to be posthumous; does that make me a bad person? If it does I can live with that.

  20. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I love the Replacements. Love, love, love the Replacements. However, may I quote the abrasive 90s punk combo Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments when they screamed “Blow [the R&RHOF] up BEFORE PAUL WESTERBERG GETS IN!”

    On a less silly tangent, Chic don’t get anywhere near the respect they deserve. Early hip-hop was heavily influenced by their music, plus Tony Thompson was quite possibly the most underrated drummer on Earth. Just listen to his sublimely subtle work on Madonna’s “Material Girl” and Bowie’s “Modern Love.”

  21. Pieter B, FCD says

    There is a category for “sidemen,” now called the “Award for Musical Excellence,” which both widens it and waters it down. Carol Kaye definitely should be recognized, but as I say every year, you can’t take the Hall seriously until Nicky Hopkins is in.

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